tv Charlie Rose PBS April 26, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT
>> rose: welcome to our program. tonight a look at a success story in asia. no, not china or india, it's indonesia. the untry and it's president susilo bambang yudhoyono. >> the world has to understand that indonesia is a country on the move. we have transformed. indonesia is... i should say an anchor in southeast asia. indonesia is playing a role in all the regions in all the
world. and there is no contradiction between islam and democracy in indonesia. and of course it's progressing. economic reforms and others. >> rose: the indonesian story and its president when we continue. every story needs a hero we can all root for. who beats the odds and comes out on top. but this isn't just a hollywood storyline. it's happening every day, all across america. every time a storefront opens. or the midnight oil is burned. or when someone chases a dream, not just a dollar. they are small business owners. so if you wanna root for a real hero,
support small business. shop small. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: while much of the world's attention is focus tonight arab spring and popular rebellions against dictatorial regimes, there is in southeast the story of indonesia and its democratically elected two-term president susilo bambang yudhoyono. he's known everywhere bhi his initials f.b.y. 13 years ago indonesia's economy collapsed, a revolution toppled its long time dictator suharto and left behind
separatism and violence. against great odds, the country began a remarkable transition to democracy and economic success. indonesia's economy is part of the growing asian economic power. the country plays an active role in the g-20. it's a heavyweight in asean, the association of southeast asian nations. the country is an archipelago of 237 million people. there are hundreds of ethnic groups and as many different dialects. it has the world's largest muslim population and is the world's third-largest democracy. today indonesia is widely considered a model for secular pleural muslim democracy. this country seems to have a special place for president obama who lived in jakarta for four years as a child during a visit to indonesia, the president talked of the country's importance and what it meant to his mother. >> because indonesia is made up of thousands of languages and people from scores of regions and ethnic groups. my time here helped me
appreciate the common humanity of all people. and while my stepfather, like most indonesians was raised a muslim, he firmly believed that all religions were worthy of respect. and in this way... (applause) in this way, he reflected the spirit of religious tolerance that is enshrined in indonesia's constitution and that remains one of this country's defining and inspiring characteristics. (applause) now, i stayed here for four years, a time that helped shape my childhood. a time that saw the birth of my wonderful sister, maya. a time that made such an impression on my mother that she kept returning to indonesia over the next 20 years to live and
work and travel, to pursue her passion of promoting opportunity in indonesia's villages, especially opportunity for women and for girls. (applause) and i was so honor when president susilo bambang yudhoyono last night at the state dinner presented an award on behalf of my mother, recognizing the work that she did and she would have been so proud because my mother held indonesia and its people very close to her heart for her entire life. in the years since then knees has charted its own course through an extraordinary democratic transformation. from the rule of an iron fist to the rule of the people. in recent years, the world has watched with hope and admiration as indonesians embraced the peaceful transfer of power and the direct election of leaders. when i moved to indonesia, it
would have been hard to imagine a future in which the prosperity of families in chicago and jakarta would be connected. but our economies are now global and indonesians have experienced both the promise and the perils of globalization. >> rose: president obama himself and others have written of the impact of his childhood in indonesia on the values and personality of the president, from his self-control to his ambition for politics. and while president obama has a relationship with indonesia, the president of indonesia has a connection with the united states. he is a former army general who received a part of his education at webster university and military training in the united states with the 82nd airborne at fort benning, north carolina, and the u.s. army general command and staff college in kansas. his son was a student at the kennedy school at harvard. in 2004, susilo bambang yudhoyono won indonesia's first ever direct collection. his first crisis as president were the asian tsunami and islamist radicalism. he oversaw a successful counterterrorism campaign, he
ended a separatist insurgency in the province of aceh, he was crepted with fighting corruption and opening up indonesia's economy. in 2009 he was reelected in a landslide victory, winning about 60% of the vote. his second term ends in 2014, the indonesian constitution has a two-term limit. the president hasn't decided what he will do but he has a passion to write and sing. ♪ ♪ >> rose: there is great interest in indonesia's future because of its role in asia, the g-20 and because it is a democracy with the world's largest muslim population. president susilo bambang yudhoyono spoke to these issues, indonesia's future and its aspirations a 2009 speech at harvard's kennedy school. >> several months ago, president barack obama made the misstore i can speech in cairo speaking of
the relations between america and the musl world. as the president of the country with the world's largest muslim population, i would like today to rpond to that speh. 16 years ago the late samuel huntington, a son of this university published an essay proposing that after the wold war civilitions, regions and cultures would become the defining feature of international relations and would constitute the primary course of conflict between and within nations. to me, the term in itself counterproductive. huington's warning has been relevant to indonesia's experience. in the roller coaster years following independence, indonesia has suffered ethnic and religious conflict and
islamic insurgencies but we overcame these challenges we adapted and instead of failing we have tried. today we are not a hotbed of communal violence. we are by and large an archipelago of peace. today we are not at the brink of organization, we have instead fortified our national identity true, successful, peaceful national elections. today we are not victims of authoritarian centralized government but a model of democracy an decentralation. today we are not paralyzed by financial crisis but forging ahead with sweeping reforms of our financial and industrial structure. and indonesia today is a dynamic emergent economy enjoying one of e highest growth rates in asia after china and india.
thus, no matter how deep and seemingly these forces are facing indonesia, the ethnic differences and religious conflict, we overcame them. this is the despite the enormous challenges of democracy and development that still confront us. america, with all the economic, social, and technological resources at her disposal has much tom offer to this new world. america's role in helping to reform the international system, the pret empower the world's poor, resolve conflict and share knowledge is a critical asset to a transforming world. now it's a golden opportunity for america to inundate e world with herubpower, not her power. america should not worry about
retaining its superpower status. america can help make the world anew. what could be more powerful and definitive than that? indonesia, too, ha a significant role to play. is we can bridge between islamic and the western world. we can project moderate islam throughout the muslim world. we can be the bastions of freedom, tolerance and harmony. beck a powerful example that once again islam, democracy, can go hand in nd and we will continue to have strength through democracy, development and harmony. this is why indonesia and america now are evolving strategic partnership. the third largest democracy, the most powerful western country and the country with the largest muslim population celebrated for the challenges of the 21st
century, this partnership can strengthen stability into unity and world peace. in the final analysis, vast oceans have spread our countries but when we unite we are trying to redefine our place in the world. president obama insists the 21st century can still b the american century. i am convinced that this could well be a century. then i thought whyan't it be everybody's century? it can be the american century. it can be the asian century. it can be the european century. it can be the african century, and it can be the islamic century. >> rose: the president of indonesia speaks of lofty goals, but he governs cautiously. when i went to jakarta at the end of march to look at the indonesian story, i had dinner with a number of leaders from the country from all sectors of
society before my interview with the president. they all expressed great pride in the economic and political progress of indonesia, but they also wished their president would be less cautious and speak more forcefully on the issue of intolerance by religious groups. among those at the dinner, a modera islamic scholar. islam and democracy can you have an islamic democracy? >> i believe so. and i think the experience in 1998 have shown very, very clearly that islam and democracy go han in hd. i think we are now in indonesia at the level where democracy is not entirely established and... but we are on the level where democracy is working well and the contribution of islamic
organization, islamic political parties and islamic society in general is very tremendous. you can seethe election, for example, the muslim participation in th election was so enthusiastic and i think there is no way for muslims today to reject democracy as such, an idea and also as a practice of course there are some muslims who still reject democracy as such, but that is very minor. >> rose: why do they reject it? >> they reject it because of a simple reason because democracy comes from the west. it doesn't come from our tradition. it's not part of our cultural legacy and so for. but i don't think this theological or religiou
standpoint is upheld by the majority of the muims here. >> i think in general our president is trying to project islam and indonesian islam as a model for islamic war because innesia shows anexample where islam and... diversity islam and d.e.m. ski coexist. this is a good example of non-arab country with the majority of the muslim pulation with different type of islam. there is an image that our presidt is trying to project to the outside world but we are gripped, domestically speaking, with some issues, some challenges. muslim/christian relationship. >> rose: why do you think the president is cautious?
>> this is a new dynamic, a political dynamic that we have to have in indonesia that since the political reform, since the democratization process took place in our country we had a situation where political actors political parties are taken hostage to some fear that if u run against muslim interests, you're into trouble. >> rose: after the president's interview, metith bambang hermuti, he's the editor of tempo, indonesia's widel respected magazine. >> we are going to either go fast forward, become a dern country is one part.
the other part is maybe we are going into a more traditional and conservative way. is of course, as a liberal myself i'm hoping we go more into the modern and open sign of society. >> rose: what will be decisive >> i think what would be decisive is whether the current document can prove that actually using what is considered maybe a modern way can be successful in bringing the people to a better economic society. not only economically speaking, but also socially speaking, politically speaking. that giving people that we are on the right tracknd that then we are the listening to good directions so they don't look to it. buif our economy is not so
good, there is less hope than people will look into other alternatives. >> rose: what's your assessment of the president? >> well, the president has been publicly criticized as too cautious, as the indecisive, as too cautious. and me individually, i ha to tell you i think i'm in the minority, i think indonesia needs not a strong-arm person right now. because otherwise our demracy will die. >> rose: why is that true? >> because i think you cannot have a functioning democracy i people are not involved in it. if you have a very strong leaders... >> rose: they will not be involved? >> they will just leave it to the leaders and they areused to it. in the past they are saying that the resolution to their problem is to have a strong leader and then you can go back to whatever you want to do.
but if you have to have a functioning democracy, you have to be feeling that the success or failure of this democracy depend on you not on anybody else. >> rose: president susilo bambang yudhoyono spoke to those concerns in a wide-ranging conversation in jakarta at the state palace. mr. president, thank you for allowing us to come here to indonesia and visit with you. >> welcome. >> rose: i come here because of ur success. the stor of indonesia is economically prosperous and part of a dynamic reon. the asian regn, democratic, there is social and cultural depth. it is secular and tolerant a pleural. it is diverse and young and it has per capita more twitter people and more facebook people than any other country in the world. i come here because i want to understand your country and how one majority of muslim nation approaches the issues of islam
issues of democracy and the issues of a country's place in the world. i talked to lots of your citizens and they say two things to me. they're very proud of indonesia and they want the world to know about indonesia. they're also very proud of you but they want you to be more bold they say to me. without understanding what the political dynamic of that are. tell me how you see this country what do you see as its role in the world in 2011, which is increasingly complicated. >> yes. indonesia has transformed after we were hit by testimony seve crisisround 307 years ago. but since that, we have conduct lots of reforms.
we also carry out democratization and other things have achieved several things that to be frank we have to do a lot of home work in the years to come. with that success or i could compete with also our challenge indonesia is obliged to be part of global cooperation in dealing with many issues, many challenges, that's why on the one hand we have to continue reforms and transformation. on the other hand, we have to play better roles in the region to be rt of, for example,
building a sustainable economy, attention and among civilization and others. >> rose: i hear you suggesting that indonesians are prepared to play a role in terms of helping in areas like the middle east where there may be affinity to play a positive role. >> well, in the sense of finding solutions to t existing conflict indonesia is always ready to be part of tha and en though we are not the business of exporting our experience in conducting democratization, for example, indonesia is more tha willing to share o experience and say... carrying out... >> rose: you see a situation in egypt and in tunisia where there's been a powerful person
for more than three decades in both cases. a transition is taking place to some kind of democracy. what advice would indonesia have because of its experience from suharto to you? >> yes, i believe in democracy, i believe inhere must be a limit in power. power trends to corrupt. absolute power corrupts absolutely. so like our experience after the crisis, we choose our constitution to limit the terms of presidents by two terms only. there must be a willingness that a new young democracy, the power must be limited.
secondly, there must be a national consensus that they are willing to change. many things... and, of course it's on our own experience in conducting democratization, the country must also have a strong resilience because the business of reforms inifficult business there are manyps and downs, setbacks if i could say so. that's why we need the strong leaderships, we need strong spiritto continue the reforms and also willingness to accept change there the kind of
reforms. >> let me talk about you and the united states and president obama andindonesia. the president spoke about his great affection. you reminded him of your great affection for the united state what's the nature of the relationship today? >>ood: very good. i'm glad th we ve ented the new chapter in our relations and what leaders are connected to putting our relations at higher levels. we have adopted comprehensive partnerships from trade investment to education, technology to energy and climate change and security and others. so we have to continue fostering and expanding our relationship for the benefit of both innocent people and americans. >> so i enjoy the relations now.
>> rose: what was your experience in america and how did it shape you? >> well, of course i had been attending many military schools in the u.s. i do not only learn about military tactics and strategy, how to fight the battle, but i know mor about americans. i could study the democracy, western values and other things so far me i could take a lot o things of military skills and knowledge. >> rose: did you take back from your experience things that would influence the way you govern here? >> oh, yes, yes being president i have to understand the international relation. the universal values, diplomacy, many things.
so of course that kind of knowledge, skill, and experience really benefits me in leading this nation in running the government right now. >> rose: what role should the united states play in asia? >> in asia. well, asia is emergeing. we can see that in the last economic crisis that happened asia is a strong pillar in economic recovery. >> rose: and recovered first. >> yes, exactly. and we have to mention in this situation that indonesia... i should say asia can be a source of global. but on the other hand we need dynamic equilibrium. we have china, india, japan and asean. what we need is a stable region. it means we need (inaudible)
balance of power that was practiced but with there equilibrium i believe that this stability and order can be mainined here in the region while we can ao contribute the... to the global economy. >> do you want the united states to play a role? the region? to be a factor in the region? >> the u.s. is playing a role, actually, in the region and we have now many regional archecture phenomenon system one of... we have now a northeast asia summit and started from this year the.s. will also be a member of the
east asian summit and in my view the u.s. must be in partnership and play an active role on that. >> rose: china. tell me about how you see china >> china isecoming a major power. economically. >> rose: second-largest economy in the world already. >> yes, economically and militarily. china must be part of regional dynamisms. must be part of economic development in our world. but china must take responsibility as a global player with the time oaf rolls i believe the relationship between china and other countries will
be better. >> rose: do you believe they're prepared to play that kind of role? >> well, i met china's leaders several times, president hu jintao, premier win jiabao. i could feel that china is realizing more that the world needs roles, her participation to deal with many global challenges and issues. i believe that china is moving toward the direction. >> are yoweri at all chi's por? >> i have to say like this. as far as china can be put in our regional operations and we treat china properly, as a
friend, as partner and, of course, while i have to say that power muste checked by another power, then china cou be a good friend for everybody. >> rose: and a big market. >> yes. and the world is expecting things to happen. >> but you suggested they're also becoming a major military power as well. >> yes. yes. >> rose: and maybe that will give it a reach beyond. >> rose: there is a sensitive issue when we talk about the security of the south china sea and i think that will encourage and can also bring china in it if you can discu how to main stability in order in south china sea.
i believe that we could avoid that in th region so there are a lot of talks of possible use of military might by china in the region. in my view we should have a general talk with chahat there's some compass in the region to deal with anything peacefully, politically and china should be part of that kind of framework. >> rose: and should be connected to the asean nations as well as plus three? >> yeswe have a strong relations, actually, charlie. we have asean plus china relations. we have east asia. so china must be concted to us or we should connect ourselves to china as part of the economic insentive in the region.
>> rose: you know the term brick nations. >> yes. >> rose: brazil, russia, india, china. should indonesia be part of the brick countries? >> well,... >> rose: in the concept of people... >> i could say we have great potential. r people, our resources, our progress economic growth with strong economic fundamentals our success in minimizing the impact of the global crisis recently. of course i have agreed that indonesia will join brick but we have to improve our old competitiveness, our old potential, many things that we have to endeavor in the years to come. >> rose: china is your bigst mark. >> among others. our export goes to china, japan and the u.s. >> rose: and you have a free trade agreement japan. >> yes, actually we have man
agreements. mostly in the context of asean plus a free trip agreement. >> rose: talk to me about indonesia and islam. you have to largest muslim population in the world. >> yes. >> rose: 80% to 90% of your population. >> exactly. >> rose: what can we learn from the indonesian experience? >> it's true that indonesia is the largest muslim populatn in the world but we are not an islamic state. we respect diversity and multiculturalisms. but i have to say that maintaining diversity is not to be taken for granted. what we are doing now is to maintain the force of moderates. islam and democracy is
mpatible in indonesia. that's why we want to be a model that democracy and modernity can live together in harmony. that's our ideas and our... on the one hand developing democracy, on the other hand managing moderat attitudes of our muslims. >> rose: is islam in indonesia different, say, than islam in the middle east? >> well, the teachings of his is of course, the same: but i would like to feel like this. there are always, always... extremists. extremists groups. we can find those kind of groups anywhere in the world. while we are maintaining our
force, of of globalization, because of the radicalism, we tried to check those groups, not to bring in harm to others, not to (inaudible) not to commit the act of terrorism. so i could say now that islam is islam butin reality there are global netrks of terrorism and radicalisms and i am talking abou networks of indonesia, countries in if middle east, southern philippines and many other places. >> rose: are they connected? >> somewhat they are... have had connections one to another. that that's why dealing with
radicalism we need to look at indonesia, malaysia, philippines thailand, britain and, of course with other countries in other regions. >> rose: some of the people i know look at indonesia today and they say they fear a rise in radical terrorism. >> yes, i can see to a certain degree there is an escalation of radicalisms in many countries. probably we could see also that kind of... that happens in indosia. i could say that those groups are actually small. sometimes it's a quote by the medi could be yes, the answer, but i
believe that we could manage, we could control the activities of radicalistgroups here in indonesia by empowering religious leaders, by ensuring for education and other means that force of moderation so it could be yes but i'm not really worried about the so-called rise of radicalisms. >> rose: i think people want to see if there's a concern they would want to see you because of the position you have. be bolder and to speak out more and to remind everyone of the
nature of indonesia and its pleuralty. >> i am really more than willing to speak loudly. actually, i keep saying that the state cannot be defeated by radicalism and terrorism. we actually conduct anti-terrorism campaigns very serisly in indonesia. but, of course, i have to maintain the climate of brotherhood here in indonesia because the majority of the population are muslim so i try to maintain their feelings because sometimes what the policy of the government is
misinterpreted. i do say the war against terrorism, but there must be... there might be a manipulation, the war against islam. so on the one hand, i try to convince the people that government fights radicalism and terrorism and if i could connect to the situation once again i am willing to speak more loudly. >> rose: tell me the principles that you think are important to speak to if you are the leade of the world's largest muslim population country. >> yes the world should know that islam is a religion of peace an tolerance.
muslims are generally peace-loving. but i have to admit that there are radicalisms don't generalize that all musli are radical and we could build new relations among islam and the west, for example by learning one to another, by understanding among religions and by continuing our dialogue i do believe that we could avoid (inaudible) and we could build controls amongst civilizations. >> rose: do you see indonesia as turkey would like to see itself?
as a bridge to the islamic world? >> yes. indonesia isctually playing role to bridge the west and islam. we are participate in many organizations to play these kinds of roles and turkey is located in europe or between asia and europe. >> rose: exactly. >> and they can play a (inaudible) and indonesia can also do the same. >> rose: i said at the begining that as i've been there indonesia people believe that you're on their side across the board. they do want you to be bolder. they feel you're too cautious. do you understand that? >> i could explain.
i could understand why the people want me to do certain things boldly. many times i make quick decisis because i need to do that. but on the other hand the problem is s complex i don't want that one probl will only create another problem. >> rose: what do you mean by that? >> yes, for example, if you talk about the relation among (inaudible) there e also t polls. one asks me to (inaudible)
religious sect in indonesia. the other poll don't touch because it's the right of someone to believe in one thing. so my policy, my choice is respect someone who is believing in one thing but we regulate activities to avoid (inaudible) between the two groups and my approach on the one hand can be seen and also by others. but in this case i believe very strongly that i have to choose that kind of decision. otherwise it will only create a
bigger problem. >> rose: so you're not prepared to declare them illegal, for example? >> no. the government does notisband. we have to respectomeone's belief in one thing. but if we do not do something then it happens in many countries. that happens in the past. it cannot be avoided because of the sensitivity of religious teaching. so what we are doing is only regulate how to maintain the relationship between the two. how to avoid the possible clash that can happen. how to understand the sensitivity on both sides, things like that. >> rose: should you speak out when there are indents of people receiving bombs in books?
>> i have made my statement very strongly. i instructed the police, the l enforcement agencies to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. the public during the cabinet meetings. so it's very clear we will not tolerate any kind of things that can trap... (inaudible). >> rose: and the assumption is that violence on the part of one radical element of islam versus someone who's preaching a tolerant, moderate islam. >> the government must choose a policy that on the one hand respecting someone's belief but on the other hand to (inaudible) there would be no clash between the believers, the common
believer of islam and the followers. >> rose: let me talk about your biograph born in java. >> yes. >> rose: went into the military. had a very, very successful care in the military. in east timor, went to the united states, took on very important sites. went into the cabinet. did being a military man help you in politics? >> one thing,its (inaudible) i leaed how to understand, how to manage the situation, many things. so all those things can be applied in many profession in any environment of politics and also probably business. so of course that benefit me in
covering my enthusiasm as a politician. >> rose: did you have any reservations about deciding to run for president? >> well, actually, i run for the presidency because i know that i have the opportunity and've got strong support from the people. and my position at that time was not in the government. of course i could not run and i should not run if i was a minister. to challenge my president who appointed me as minister because my position is quite clear. so i (inaudible) through the elections. so that's a back ground why i run for the presidency. >> rose: in so in 2014 your second term is up. >> yes.
>> rose: you are unable to run again? >> yes. an because this is the... it is set in our constituon and i also lit the term of the president because for me ten years is enough. there's a ndency for someone to be a successor. >> rose: do yohave a cdidate in mind to succeed you? >> not now. i may find someone but i don't know if there ice a strong candidate for 2014 elections. >> rose: who might that be? >> i cannot find it right now but i am hoping that i could endorse someone someday. >> i know of know other president in a nation as powerful as indonesia who has released a record of their romantic songs in the last five
years. lafs >> (laughs) >> rose: what's that about? >> well, i'm a han being. sometimes i feel a lot of things living in this country: happy, sad. so why don't i express that kind of feeling through song? when i was young i used to join military... i shoulday... music in my school. so i tried to write a song again and took that kind of inspirationf ideas. finally i could write those songs. >> rose: so you'll continue to record? >> sometimes, sometimes. >> rose: when you were in the military you were described as the thinking general.
what was that about? >> well... >> rose: how did you find that? >> actually, my career is like other professional officers. i have conducted military operations, but probably during the reform era i was one of the main players in drafting the military reforms in getting back to the main functions of the military. and i work a lot of things during this period. i participate in the amendment process of our constitution. i represented a military element
there conducting national reforms, all those things people sees thinking general. >> rose: they do. and so because you have... understand leadership a long military career who then went into politics and because of indonesia's reputation as a place of democratic, tolerant islam, what do you feel is your responsibility as the president of this country to maintain that? >> well, i have to say two things. one while i am running the government and leading this country i have to really determine that theorce of
naudible) will be compatible between islam and democracy our choice. we have to maintain it forever as a best choice of the nation. secondly i ha to ensure that this attitude is also a process by others. i should ensure that all loss, all policies are in line with this clear process. that's my responsibility as a leader but more than that what we have to do is to win the corrt things and maintaining this kind of thing. i know that there are many challenges over time that when
the leader and the nations and the government stick too this principle i believe we could vietnam it. >> rose: and what role for you after you leave the presidency? >> well i probably will write a book will... with other friends to encourage young readers, to be future leaders through education for example and i am thinking that i eat better dedicate my times and energy more on other issues to help the ture lders to be the president and the government. >> rose: thank you for this time. >> you're welcome.